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Albanian man wanted in Italy for ‘involvement in drug trafficking’ arrested in the UK | UK | News

Albanian man wanted in Italy for 'involvement in drug trafficking' arrested in the UK | UK | News

AN ALBANIAN man wanted in Italy to serve a conviction for belonging to an organised crime group involved in drug trafficking has been arrested in the UK.

Besnik Zekthi, 42, of an unknown address was brought before Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday for extradition proceedings to begin.

Zekthi did not consent to be extradited and was remanded into custody ahead of another hearing this month where a bail application will be considered.

He was remanded into custody due to him being “likely to abscond and to offend” and due to the “nature and seriousness of the offence, and due to the fact he has an undisclosed sentence to serve,” according to a record of the hearing.

Large numbers of Albanian convicted and alleged criminals who are wanted in Italy have been arrested in the UK for extradition in the past few years.

Albanian crime networks involved in the supply of cocaine, with links to supplier cartels in South America, have worked with Italian Mafia on distributing the drugs and moving them through Europe.

Historically, the Albanian crime gangs have also used Italian passports and identity documents to travel into the UK.

Last year General Pasquale Angelosanto, commander of a special unit of the Carabinieri that fights Italy’s various mafia networks, said Italy’s powerful Ndrangheta mafia was collaborating with Albanian gangs to make billions of euros a year importing cocaine from South America to Europe.

He said the Albanian gangs were able to get large shipments though the biggest European container ports through concealment and corruption.

Also appearing in the extradition court on Saturday for an unrelated case was Polish national Artur Pawel Michalak, 49, from Barrow Road, Streatham, south London.

The fugitive is wanted in his homeland to serve an undisclosed fraud sentence.

He did not consent to extradition and was remanded into custody, due to having a “lengthy” sentence to serve, ahead of a further hearing this month, the court record said.

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